Questions tagged [attachment-ambiguity]

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Interpretation of two phrases separated by ‘or’, followed by another phrase starting with ‘and’ [closed]

A sentence in the Indian Penal Code drafted in 1860 reads like this: Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. Someone ...
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1 answer
118 views

The farther a number is from 0 on its right... does 'its' refer to the number or 0? [closed]

The farther a number is from 0 on its right, the _____ is its value. (Choose between larger and smaller). If 'its' refers to the subject number, then the correct answer is 'smaller'. If 'its' refers ...
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0 votes
1 answer
51 views

Does an adjective before "or" apply to the noun that comes after "or"? [duplicate]

Have you come across any frilly dresses or blouses? Does this mean [frilly dresses or frilly blouses], or does it mean [frilly dresses or blouses]? I want to know whether an adjective so placed only ...
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2 votes
1 answer
57 views

How to remove attachment ambiguity?

I have the following sentence in my technical manual about naming files: Punctuation marks other than hyphens, spaces around punctuation marks that are replaced by underscores, and spaces between ...
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1 answer
45 views

How to use "or" and the adverb "as"?

The preface of the book, Physics and Music (Dover Publications), states: Almost everyone enjoys music, whether as a performer or as a listener. I was wondering if such a repetition of as is ...
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2 answers
53 views

Paradoxical participle [duplicate]

“I met a friend walking down the street.” Does it mean I was walking, or that my friend was walking, or both are possible?
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1 vote
1 answer
69 views

How to interpret the use of adverbs with conjugate clauses?

I wanted to clarify how an adverb (usually preceding) affects the clauses connected by a conjunction. Consider the dictionary meaning of the word oblique. The New Oxford Dictionary of American ...
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0 answers
58 views

"in that way" - Which of the following three sentences is more correct to convey the desired meaning?

I'm not asking for a proof reading. And to further clarify, the Context is there to only provide context. I ask you to please ignore any perceived mistakes in the Context (located underneath the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
89 views

Who is lost in thought in "I had no glimmer of what was in his mind, nor did he enlighten me, but sat lost in thought..."? [closed]

I'd like someone to clear up the sentence that seems ambiguous to me. It's from "The problem of the Thor Bridge" by Conan Doyle. I had no glimmer of what was in his mind, nor did he enlighten me, ...
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1 answer
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Five students visit three farmers in their village. their? [closed]

Five students visit three farmers in their village. Here, What do "their" refer to - students? or farmers?? and Why? and Why not?
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0 votes
1 answer
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Does "almost the first ten" mean "almost first" or "almost ten"?

If someone is talking "almost the first ten minutes" of something, should that be interpreted as being: ten minutes, almost at the beginning, or almost ten minutes, necessarily starting at the ...
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0 answers
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Is this sentence from Andrew Carnegie ambiguous? [duplicate]

This is Carnegie's defense of competition: It is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department. What is the function of the prepositional phrase "in every ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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What is a relative pronoun's referent when it follows a prepositional phrase?

For example: Stella Adler trained several generations of actors who include Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro. Does who in this example refer to actors or generations? Stella Adler trained several ...
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1 vote
1 answer
90 views

Misplaced Modifier

He kept a black book of all the girls he had dated in the past in his desk. Is "in his desk" a misplaced modifier, or is the sentence grammatically correct? Kindly elaborate.
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1 vote
2 answers
365 views

Relative pronoun, the use of comma, and subject verb agreement

Ex. There are many interesting stories attached to the drink, which exclusively belong to the brand only. Is above sentence correct? Or it should be Ex. There are many interesting stories attached ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"a group of dancers who perform..." or "a group of dancers who performs..."?

The poet represents the daffodils as a group of dancers who (perform) a beautiful dance. Is it correct to write (perform) or I should write (performs).
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1 vote
4 answers
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Grammaticality of "The victim was found by a passer-by with stab wounds"

I just heard a radio news report on a murder: "The victim was found by a passer-by with stab wounds". Surely this should read: "The victim, with stab wounds, was found by a passer-by"?
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1 vote
2 answers
134 views

Can my teachers be trainers or would I be taught by my shoes? [closed]

I am working in an educational organisation and we often co-operate with other institutions from other European countries, e.g. in EU-wide projects. Very often we have to write applications for ...
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24 votes
11 answers
104k views

How can you lift an elephant with one hand?

Here is a question I've encountered: How can you lift an elephant with one hand? The answer provided is: It is not a problem, since you will never find an elephant with one hand. Now, if I ...
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30 votes
6 answers
6k views

Does "I am eating vegan cheese in my underpants" really imply that the vegan cheese is inside my underpants?

I am having a debate with someone about possible interpretations of a sentence and we have come to a stalemate. The sentence is as follows: "I'm at home eating vegan cheese in my underpants and ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
601 views

Antecedent of "naked" in "I would like to paint a picture of you naked"

You’re such a pretty person, I would like to paint a picture of you naked. Does this mean "you’ll undress while I get my brushes", or does it mean "strike a pose while I take my clothes off"?
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2 votes
4 answers
5k views

"Using" versus "with"

I find myself using these two constructions: I am digging a hole using a spade. and I am digging a hole with a spade. Which one is correct, or can they be used both?
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2 votes
2 answers
548 views

Is there a name for this ambiguity problem or for the construction that solves it?

I read a sentence, John has published research in academic journals of philosophy and law. The author meant John has published research in academic journals of philosophy and in academic journals ...
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0 votes
1 answer
204 views

Word being modified by whose

I came across the following sentence: Kiran is Kishore's uncle, whose paternal grandfather has only two children. I am not clear which person whose is referring to - Kiran or Kishore and why?
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14 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the name of the ambiguity in the phrase "I want to visit clubs with attractive women"?

I want to visit clubs with attractive women. This phrase can be interpreted in two ways: I want to visit clubs myself, but the clubs I visit should have attractive women. I want to take ...
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2 votes
1 answer
770 views

Position of adverbial phrase [duplicate]

Is there a difference in these two sentences, and if so, what is the difference? Immediately afterwards I remembered having met her. I remembered having met her immediately afterwards. I think there ...
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4 votes
2 answers
299 views

Is "Betty learned that Albert telephoned after Isaiah visited" ambiguous?

Betty learned that Albert telephoned after Isaiah visited. Can anybody explain whether "after Isaiah visited" tell us: (1) when Betty learned something about Albert or (2) when Albert ...
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12 votes
2 answers
6k views

What is funny in this paraprosdokian?

I was reading the wiki page about paraprosdokians when I come across this sentence. One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas, how he got in my pajamas, I don't know. What is funny about it?
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